I don’t think there is much worse than watching your young son suffer through night terrors. They are unpredictable and at first unclear to diagnose as such. One moment sleeping dreamily and the next in a semi-wakeful state only not really awake talking about the boogeyman that haunts his soul. It’s heartbreaking and not something you can just kiss goodbye like a boo-boo. In fact sometimes just the touch of another human being can make his anguish 100 times worse while at other times it soothes his soul. It’s like walking on a tightrope and doing your best to stay balanced only without all the tools that an expert tightrope walker has in their arsenal.
For a while he had them several times a week, then several times a month, then a day or two a month, then down to just occasionally. I can always tell when he’s really worried or afraid of something because they come more frequently. Some are easier to sooth than others. Some hold so deeply onto his mind that it’s hard to get it to reset to a normal setting. The one thing that seems to settle him is a little six line lullaby that I created and have sung to him since he was a just few weeks old because I couldn’t seem to retain with any regularity the verses to all the old standard lullaby’s of my youth. Who knew that something that emerged as a result of my Fibromyalgia symptoms would become so handy down the line. But it is, handy, to help keep the boogeyman at bay.
Tonight has been one of the worst for night terrors, perhaps because he isn’t feeling well and has been running a fever on and off all day. It could be because he’s afraid the boogeyman is moving back into our neck of the woods – yes people there are real boogeymen out in the world and they can do irreparable harm to whole families, heck whole communities if they are evil enough in their intentions. For this momma it is one thing to know how to fight them one-on-one and a whole different thing to fight them in your child’s subconscious. How do you fight something that is invisible to you but clearly in vivid colors in your child’s mind? If anyone has an answer I’d sure like to hear it.
We do all that we can in the waking hours – installing confidence and open communication, working with great doctor’s and therapists trained to work with children and families alike and yet on nights like these it’s hard to feel like we’re really helping at all. It’s hard to explain away why your child who is normally on top of things, interactive, and smart is zombielike on certain days. Especially when he wouldn’t be able to explain why since he himself has no recollection of experiencing night terrors. That at least is the silver lining. He doesn’t have to live through it in his subconscious dreaming state only to recollect and rethink the whole thing again in his waking state.
As a mom I wish I had some magic fairy wand that I could simply wave with a flourish in the air and remove every scary thought that tries to take hold in his mind. I’d replace them with adventurous journey’s that would appeal to a crazy little boys soul and happy, laugh out loud moments. I’d give him restful nights of slumber and only pleasant dreams if only I had a magic wand. But alas, I do not have one of those tools either so for now I’ll just have to sing my lullaby while gently rubbing his back and hope it is enough to soothe his troubled little heart.